Given the economic downturn, no one was expecting attendance at the 2009 NAB show to match last year. Even so, the turnout and atmosphere are not a worst case scenario.
Before heading to Las Vegas, we’d heard from some vendors who expected that attendance might be down over 20%. It appears not to have fallen off quite that much. Early fear that the official count by the NAB, which includes many people who only got exhibit floor passes, might be as low as 80,000. Then we heard it was likely to be several thousand higher than that.
Indeed, shortly after we wrote those words on Tuesday evening, the NAB released the official tally. There were 83,842 registered attendees, including 23,232 international attendees. also in the total tally were 1,246 news media in attendance, including RBR/TVBR.
That was down from 105,259 attendees. including 28,310 international attendees, a year ago — so both categories were down.
Attendees in 2009 have come to grips with the economic problems facing the nation and its impact on advertising spending. So, they are trying to learn things that will help them get through this tough time. For the television side, in particular, there is a lot of excitement over the rapid development of mobile DTV and the new revenue opportunities that come with it. And everyone is looking for new ways to build online revenues, even with downward pressure on spot revenues.
Yes, there are fewer parties in the evening. No doubt the free booze will flow more freely once the economy turns back upward.
RBR/TVBR observation: Key for vendors who spent a ton of money getting to Vegas with their equipment or booth information will have to learn quickly to market their products and services with technology and the internet. Video works well when you put key display and content marketing that goes to a specific landing page.
The vital key: partnering with the supplier that has the distribution and the brand that supplies daily content. Like RBR and TVBR… Learn fast as conventions are on the fast red decline.